You are what you eat & drink

1791 – Camembert Cheese

Gooey, earthy, creamy, pungent French camembert – 2Eat2Drink check for wine pairings

Camembert Cheese is one of the most famous of the French cheeses. Most cheese lovers will be familiar with the white paper-like crust and the soft runny cheese inside; often with a nut if the cheese is not fully ripe.

Reputedly first made in 1791 by Marie Harel, a farmer from Normandy, following advice from a priest who came from Brie.

Traditionally the cheese is made from unpasteurised cows milk, although many modern brands use pasteurised.

The cheese is made by inoculating warmed milk with mesophilic bacteria, then adding rennet and allowing the mixture to coagulate. The curd is then cut into roughly 1 cm (1/2 inch) cubes, salted, and transferred to low cylindrical Camembert moulds. The moulds are turned every six to twelve hours to allow the whey to drain evenly from the cut curds; after 48 hours, each mould contains a flat, cylindrical, solid cheese mass weighing approximately 350 grams (about 12 oz). At this point the fresh cheese is hard, crumbly, and bland.

The surface of each cheese is then sprayed with an aqueous suspension of the mould Penicillium camemberti and the cheeses are left to ripen for at least three weeks. The ripening process produces the distinctive powdery rind and creamy interior texture characteristic of the cheese. Once the cheeses are sufficiently ripe, they are wrapped in paper. – Wikipedia

As the cheese ripens from the outside in you can see the drier ‘nut’ in the middle

Camembert and wine: Red Bordeaux or Beaujolais

But that is not the end of the story, many wines are equally appropriate. Experiment.

Brie is a larger wheel and cut into wedges

Cam & Brie

The difference between Camembert and Brie is regional. Camembert is from Normandy and Bire from Île de France. Also, Cam is made in small rounds, whereas Brie was traditionally made in big wheels and cut, although today Brie is more commonly found in the same smaller sizes as Cam.

Cooking

Cam is great, it is versatile, you can use it with savoury dishes and desserts. Canapes, vol au vents, melt it over roast potatoes, serve it with figs or cranberries, add it to a bechamel sauce, serve it with rosemary and garlic as a centre piece for a green salad, cam and ham, cam and mushrooms, or just cam in a cheese board.

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